Barstool Sports Has a Female CEO Now
Emergency Press Conference – Introducing the New CEO of Barstool Sports pic.twitter.com/6N1xjTEVkB
— Dave Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) July 19, 2016
Barstool Sports, the Boston-born site known for its photos of bikini-clad women, has a new, female chief executive.
Erika Nardini arrives at Barstool after a stint as chief marketing officer of AOL, with stops at Demand Media, Yahoo, and Microsoft. While founder David Portnoy will continue to oversee the site’s editorial side, Nardini, who most recently served as president and chief revenue officer of the startup Bkstg, will work on expanding Barstool’s audience, which already claims 250 million monthly visitors.
“I’ve been hugely passionate about the site for a long time, which I told Chernin,” Nardini told Fortune‘s Dan Primack. “And we began discussing how to apply the same level of grit to the business of Barstool as Dave does to the content side.”
In January, Portnoy sold his stake in the site to the Chernin Group, led by media investor Peter Chernin (“big swingin’ dick at the cracker factory,” as described by Portnoy in an “emergency press conference” in Times Square.)
Portnoy and his retinue returned to Times Square for Tuesday’s announcement. “This is a man’s city. We need someone with big-ass balls, dragging on the ground. Alpha-male. Go into a meeting, command the room,” he said. “We have found our man, after a search long and hard. Every big-ass ball dude in the city came and said, ‘I wanna run Barstool.’ I said we need somebody who can control the city.”
— Erika K Nardini (@EKANardini) July 19, 2016
The addition of Nardini is noteworthy, as both Barstool’s content and audience have long been criticized as sexist. The same day Portnoy announced the sale to the Chernin Group, Sports Illustrated‘s Cauldron vertical published a piece detailing the harassment some female bloggers receive from Barstool readers. In response to author Nick Stellini’s charge that the site “weaponizes” social media, Barstool almost immediately began selling shirts that read, “We Weaponize Social Media.”
“I wish I could say that those who run Barstool Sports know better. But that would be a lie,” author Nick Stellini wrote. “They don’t know better, because they can’t comprehend that what they do isn’t gospel. They can’t fathom that their brand of humor and arrogance isn’t what they or anyone else should be spewing all over the Internet. Appealing to the lowest common denominator is easy, and Barstool Sports is living, breathing proof of it.”
“As a person, I feel that Barstool is funny and incredibly engaging,” Nardini told Primacy Tuesday. “As a woman, I’m psyched to take this CEO job, and I’m going to rock it.”